O’Hara and Enrique’s International Break Preview

With the Premier League on hold for one weekend, we take a look at what the September international break has in store for us.

Grosvenor Sport ambassadors Jamie O’Hara and Jose Enrique take a deep dive into Gareth Southgate’s England side as they discuss selection dilemmas, standout players and preview both of England’s upcoming games against Ukraine and Scotland.

Jose Enrique: Nketiah deserves call-up over Sterling, but not Watkins

I think picking Eddie Nketiah ahead of Raheem Sterling was the correct decision by Gareth Southgate, but ahead of Ollie Watkins? No chance. I think Watkins deserves to be in front of Nketiah given that, when Gabriel Jesus is fit, Nketiah will not even be a starter for Arsenal.

Sterling has not been the same player that we saw at Manchester City since he joined Chelsea, but Watkins is a player that I love and I really think he deserves to be in the England squad. With a friendly game as well as the Euro qualifier, it might be a good opportunity to give Nketiah a chance, but for me, quality wise, I prefer Watkins to Nketiah.

Jamie O’Hara: Playing for title challengers make Nketiah the right pick

I think Eddie Nketiah deserves an opportunity and he should be in the squad. He’s been playing really well for Arsenal recently, he scores goals, and he’s started the season really well.

For me, Sterling has played three alright games at the start of this season and one of those was against Luton. Playing Luton is like playing a non-league team, they’re awful! He played in Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest most recently and he was poor.

I think Gareth Southgate has got this one right and he doesn’t tend to get many of these decisions wrong. He’s already seen what Ollie Watkins can do, he’s a great player, but I think Eddie Nketiah deserves his chance. He’s playing for a team that are challenging for the title, Arteta loves him, and he knows where the back of the net is.

Jose Enrique: Pickford over Pope the wrong call

The reality with Southgate is that when he gets an idea in his head, he sticks with it. The Jordan Pickford situation is no different because for him Pickford is the starting goalkeeper and I think it will stay that way, even though Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope have been better than him.

I like Pickford, but the other two are better than him. I think the decision is unfair on Pope because he has done well for Newcastle not just this season but last season as well.

I’m old fashioned on this topic – even though it is nice to see teams playing out from the back, if I was a manager, I would tell my goalkeeper to keep it simple, get the ball up to the striker and then we can play from there.

Jamie O’Hara: Nick Pope simply not good enough

For me, Nick Pope is just not good enough. He has put in some poor performances this season already and he looks like he’s got cement in his boots when he tries to play out from the back. You can’t play for England if you can’t play out from the back.

In this day and age, I’d rather sacrifice having a worse shot stopper for having my goalkeeper be better on the ball. Now your goalkeeper is like a defender or a midfielder in that they need to be good on the ball because they make things happen. I’d rather have a keeper who might make some mistakes but is better with his feet.

Jose Enrique: Maguire can’t play for England

It looks like Gareth Southgate is going to carry on picking Harry Maguire and England fans are just going to have to accept it. He is picking him irrespective of whether or not he plays for Manchester United, but as a national team manager Southgate should be fair. If you are not playing for your club, how can you play for your national team? I have never understood that.

Instead of starting Maguire, they could start Levi Colwill from Chelsea, who is another player that I love. I think that would be fairer! Maybe they could still call up Maguire because they don’t have many options, but he shouldn’t be starting.

Jamie O’Hara: Maguire has never let Southgate down

I agree that Maguire can’t play 90 minutes at the highest level but the problem is that he has never let Gareth Southgate down. International football is a lot slower and we play deeper and he seems to fit in to Gareth Southgate’s thinking.

We are not blessed with top centre-backs at the moment and both John Stones and Tyrone Mings are both injured. When you look at the defenders we actually have I would even pick Kyle Walker to play centre-back because of his experience and pace. We have an inexperienced back line and that is why I think he has stuck with Harry Maguire.

I think Levi Colwill will be a future England star and he could be like the next John Terry. He’s good on the ball and he will eventually take over.

Jamie O’Hara: England favourites for Euros

When you look at England’s squad as a whole it is unreal when you look at al of the big names in there. they’ve got the likes of Harry Kane, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, and the list goes on. We are blessed to have such a talented group and we should win the Euros next year, and we will be favourites to do so.

Jose Enrique: England need their first tournament win

I think England will be one of the favourites for the Euros next year and it might be a case similar to Manchester City in the Champions League where the problem is getting the first title. Once you win one trophy the same thing that Spain achieved could happen where they win one Euros and then go on to win a World Cup and then the next Euros consecutively.


International Break Predictions

Ukraine v England

Jamie O’Hara: England

Jose Enrique: England


Scotland v England

Jamie O’Hara: England

Jose Enrique: England


Cyprus v Scotland

Jamie O’Hara: Scotland

Jose Enrique: Scotland


Wales v South Korea

Jamie O’Hara: Wales

Jose Enrique: Draw


Latvia v Wales

Jamie O’Hara: Wales

Jose Enrique: Wales


Slovenia v Northern Ireland

Jamie O’Hara: Northern Ireland

Jose Enrique: Draw





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